Green’s Dictionary of Slang

boodle n.1

[either Du. boedel, household effects, and thus one’s personal estate, or Scot. bodle, a small coin worth two Scot. pence (or one-sixth of an English one) and as such usu. glossed as ‘worthless’. It is in the US that the modern meaning, whether of criminal or political graft (see sense 2), has developed; note West Point boodle, contraband edibles, sweets etc]

1. (orig. US) a crowd or collection of people or things; usu. in phr. whole boodle

[UK]F. Markham Booke of Honour Decad. 4 Epist. 1125: Embassador being men curiously and carefully chosen out (from all the Buddle, and masse of great ones) for their approoued wisedome and experience.
[US]J. Charyn Marilyn The Wild (2003) 178: They left the terminal without a boodle of Tennessee girls.

2. (US) counterfeit money.

[US]Commercial Advertiser (N.Y.) 15 Mar. 2/3: Severance told him that he was going to Canada, and should bring back with him a boodle, (a cant term for a bundle of counterfeit bills).
[US]N.-Y. Eve. Post 20 Mar. 2/7: A counterfeit five dollar bill, of the Fulton Bank. . . . It seems that a ‘boodle,’ as the slang term is, was opened of these Bills — and this accounts for the sudden appearance of so much counterfeit money. [9 people are arrested.].
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 6 Dec. 125/5: This [i.e. fake $5 bills] is among the first issue of a new budget or ‘boodle’ and the public will do well to be upon their guard against such bills.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 13: boodle. A quantity of bad money.
[US]Eve. Teleg. (Phila., PA) 26 May 8/5: He was in the ‘boodle game’ [...] This ‘boodle’ business consisted in selling white paper to a man who proposed to buy counterfeit money.
[US]New Bloomfield Times (PA) 10 June 5/2: Boodle and Counterfeiters. [He] left information [...] that a dealer in counterfeit money [...] had made him an offer of $100 in bogus money for $35.
[US]A. Pinkerton Thirty Years a Detective 81: The game [counterfeit money] is successfully worked, and the victims continue to add to the profits of the ‘Boodle Swindlers’.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 11: Boodle, bad money.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 141: Counterfeiters may be divided into several classes. There are the ‘note counterfeiters’ [...] the ‘shovers,’ ‘dealers’ and ‘boodle-carriers’.

3. booty, money, esp. money that has been acquired illegally or through corruption.

[[Scot]A. Ramsay ‘The Twa Cut-Purses’ Fables and Tales 35: In Borrowtown there was a Fair [...] Baith Lads and Lasses busked brawly [...] And lay out ony ora Bodles On sma Gimcracks that pleas’d their Nodles].
[UK] ‘The Comical Streets of London’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 296: In St. James lives many true Greek, / For young opulent boodles affliction.
[US]G. Thompson Anna Mowbray 10: Let us have a room and some good lush, where we can ogle the boodle and reg up.
[US]Harper’s Weekly 3 Apr. n.p.: Boodle is a flash term used by counterfeiters.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 344: He ‘would buy three thousand dollars (for $1,500) of them, every day in the week, if he could get ’em.’ And so he takes a hand in this nice little boodle game.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Jan. 18/4: A good-looking burglar broke in one night, got all the spoons, and captured the sentimental member of the gang, who packed her traps and helped him carry off the ‘boodle’.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 55: We divided the boodle that he had brought with him.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 25 Oct. 1/1: Today, the ‘free and independent’ idiots of West Sydney / Will have to choose between Blatant Blackguardism and Boodle.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 93: De clerks gives me de glad hand like I’d trun boodle all over de stores.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 227: He was convinced, from the instant he discovered his boodle was gone, that it had been ‘pinched’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 29 Sept. 7/3: There’s another dooty, too, sir, / Which them nippers undertake— / It's the plantin’ of the boodle, / With a bloak wots wide awake.
[UK]Marvel 12 Nov. 6: One of our pals who scooped most of the boodle from the last crib we cracked.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Unknown Quantity’ in Strictly Business (1915) 111: Poor old dad’s collection of bonds and boodle.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 10 Jan. 9/3: [headline] Bella Bolts With The Boodle But is Grabbed by Gabriel.
[UK]A. Conan Doyle His Last Bow in Baring-Gould (1968) II 799: ‘What about the dough?’ he asked. ‘The what?’ ‘The boodle. The reward. The five hundred pounds.’.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Bulldog Drummond 245: He’ll pocket the boodle, and the boobs will stew in their own juice.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 572: They might be hanging about there or simply marauders ready to decamp with whatever boodle they could in one fell swoop at a moment’s notice, your money or your life.
[US]S. Ornitz Haunch Paunch and Jowl 29: Everybody said I was a smart guy and liked me because I got them a big boodle for a blow-out of wurst and candy.
[US]V.F. Nelson Prison Days and Nights 206: Always got at least two or three grand for my end of the boodle.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 174: My one thought was how to separate him from some of his ill-gained boodle.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 200: The outside Italian boys come here to invest some of their boodle in oil, beef and zooming real estate.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes’ in Love Ain’t Nothing but Sex Misspelled 23: The feeling any gambler gets when he is ahead of the game, a kind of desperate urgency when he hit it for a boodle, he was numb.
[US]D. Pendleton Executioner (1973) 80: God, it went great, great, and I think we got another boodle.
[US]S. Longstreet Straw Boss (1979) 342: You know damn well the biggest boddle[sic]-grabbers are my best people.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 57: A lot of those old dudes were too tough to let him slash away at their boodle.
[US]N.Y. Times 2 Nov. sect. 6 26: A bagman, in underworld parlance, is ‘one who carries the boodle, or money, from the beneficiary of a corrupt deal to the grafter’.
[UK]Observer 31 Mar. 21: There’s something nasty about celebrity wedding boodle.

4. (US Und.) money used in an elaborate confidence trick; packaged like bundles of bank-wrapped notes, it is usu. comprised of a large note on top and bottom, and $1 bills in the middle.

[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 342: [In the spring of 1869] there was then being extensively played in Philadelphia and New York a noted ‘confidence’ or swindling game, technically known to the Detectives and the Police authorities as the ‘$5 Boodle Game’.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 160: In really big stores the boodle may contain [...] as much as $20,000.
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 320: Boodle of queer, A roll of counterfeit money.
[US](con. 1950-1960) R.A. Freeman Dict. Inmate Sl. (Walla Walla, WA) 15: Boodle-of-queer – a batch of counterfeit money.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 65: He pulled out what I learned later was a boodle – a phony bankroll with a sawbuck wrapper – bigger than a wrestler’s wrist.

5. a large amount of money.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 22 Nov. 15/2: Two gents [...] drop in to ask ’Arry if he’ll ‘’old the poodle [sic] for a scrapping match in ’Oboken’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. 20 Oct. 6/3: I heard the words ‘sucker,’ ‘flat,’ [...] ‘got a boodle’.
[UK]Music Hall & Theatre Rev. 16 Feb. 11/1: [Aus./US speaker] ‘[S]ince my arrival [in Australia] I have scooped the boodle to some tune’.
[UK]Music Hall & Theatre Rev. 24 May 10/1: He means to ‘scoop in the boodle’.
[US]E. Field ‘A Dream of Springtime’ in Songs and Other Verse 209: Let those who are so minded pursue this latter game / But not repine if they should lose a boodle at the same.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 67: Duchess would stop some of de tricks she woiks to touch me for all de boodle I earns or wins.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Money In It’ Sporting Times 5 Feb. 1/3: When on his card she saw the name ‘Goldwin Fitz-Boodle Dibbs,’ / She in mentally reviewing matters thus appraised his nibs: / ‘There is money in a name like that!’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 19 Feb. 3/7: Getting from her of her boodle / To a joint account.
[UK]‘J.W.L.’ Slave Stories 74: I shall rake in the boodle [...] I shall be as rich as Andie and John D. combined.
[US]N.Y. Sun. News 3 Nov. in AS VI:2 159: boodle means a lot of anything.
[Aus]A.W. Upfield Murder Down Under (1951) 47: ‘Two ’undred pounds sounds a lot to a man’s wot’s broke.’ [...] ‘Well, ’ere’s the boodle.’.
[US]J. Havoc Early Havoc 17: This security had cost him a pretty boodle, but it was well worth it.
[Aus]Benjamin & Pearl Limericks Down Under 97: But by using his noodle, / He’s oodles of boodle.
[US]G.V. Higgins Change of Gravity [ebook] The big boodle. That’s where the real revenge is. Not takin’ it with me, no, still can’t do that, but I can keep it away from them.
[SA]Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 20 Dec. 🌐 Making boodles of dosh out of, say, un-toiled-for mining shares.

6. in attrib. use of sense 5.

[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 14 Aug. 8/3: The most corrupt body of henchmen ever hired for service in a ‘boodle’ campaign.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 22 June 1/2: The announcement of the water-waggoners that it is their intention to sacrifice national questions to their miserable fad and to vote for the boodle candidates.

7. a roll of banknotes, often when one visible large-denomination bill is wrapped around less valuable ones (or actual paper).

[US]Mag. Amer. Hist. XII 566/2: Boodle...has come to mean a large roll of bills such as political managers are supposed to divide among their retainers.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues I 289/2: Fake-boodle (American thieves). — A roll of paper, over which, after folding, a dollar bill is pasted, and another bill being wrapped round this it looks as if the whole roll is made of a large sum of money in bills.
[US] D.W. Maurer ‘Argot of Confidence Men’ AS XV:2 116/1: Boodle. A bank-roll made up to resemble the mark’s money.
[US]H. Gold Man Who Was Not With It (1965) 194: He had lost the swell pimping and posings of the carnie with a boodle in his pocket.
[US] in DARE.

8. (Aus.) government contracts which are designed primarily to benefit those involved.

[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 23: BOODLE [...] Australian meaning: commonly used with regard to Government contracts etc. by which the public are cheated.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 26 July. 65/1: The greedy gang of Boodle Bugs who control the State’s supplies of cagmag .

9. (US prison) bribes extracted from prisoners by the warders or ‘trusties’.

[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 33: Boodle. – The petty graft exacted from prisoners by a turnkey or ‘trusty’.

10. (US campus) a parcel of food, usu. sweets or snacks, sent to a student.

[US]H.B. Hersey G.I. Laughs 171: Boodle, cakes, candy, sweets.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Current Sl. II:2 6: Boodle, n. Any food or candy; a Doolie CARE package plundered by the upperclass (Air Force Academy).

11. (US drugs) a packet of narcotics.

[US]H. Ellison ‘Gentleman Junkie’ in Gentleman Junkie 24: He was convinced that if she had a boodle somewhere —.

12. (US Und.) anything sent to a prisoner from the outside world, not necessarily money.

[[US] ‘West Point Sl.’ in Howitzer (US Milit. Academy) 292–5: Boodle — Unauthorized feedables].
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 13: Property Anything sent to an inmate from the ‘outside,’ such as a stereo or TV. (Archaic: relief, score, boodle).

13. working capital.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 12: We gotta go and score for [...] bread to make up a playing boodle.

14. see boodler n. (2)

In derivatives

boodled (adj.)

well-off, in funds.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 20 Dec. 4/8: The talent who were boodled took a trip across the Bight.
boodlesome (adj.)


[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 6 Dec. 1/1: During the stay of the boodlesome bloke sanctity is suspended.

In compounds

boodle bag (n.) (US)

1. (US) a real or notional ‘bag’ which contains the fruits of political corruption.

[US]Kansas Agitator (Garnett, KS) 12 May 4/2: The state officers and the herd of county officers, all handing in their tithes of boodle to Sam Howe, the boodle-bag holder.

2. a purse, a small money-pouch, usu. worn around the neck; later use extends the sense to any small bag.

[US]Overland Mthly 455/2: Though he was possessed of an ample ‘grouch bag’ (reserve fund) he did not care to draw upon it unless a meal could not be obtained by any other means.
[US]Green Bk Mag. July 552: Nearly every performer in vaudeville has his ‘grouch-bag.’ It is made of leather or cloth and hangs about the neck beneath the underclothing. It is lined with waterproof silk. In this lies a hundred-dollar note.
[US]Tulsa Dly World (OK) 15 Apr. 18/3: [advert] Have you seen the new Boodle Bag. Something new in a safe deposit for your money and jewels to be worn just below the knee .
W. Winchell in Vanity Fair (NY) Nov. 134: ‘The Grouch Bag’ or ‘boodle bag’ is the pure that actors wear pinned to the underclothing .
[US]Amer. Mercury 24 352/2: Grouch-bag, n.: A money bag suspended by a string, carried inside the clothing.
[US]J.C. Furnas Many People Prize It 15: The Swede moved slowly forward, fishing a dirty chamois boodle-bag up from under his shirt, folded the bills, tucked them inside and closed the draw-string with a violent jerk.
[US]M. Webber Medicine Show 55: Everyone on a show has a leg belt or a ‘grouch bag.’ A leg belt is a small money belt, worn just above the calf. A ‘grouch bag’ is a chamois sack, worn inside the shirt, and hung from a string about the neck. Both are for carrying money.
[US]J. Laurie Vaudeville 227: A grouch bag was a chamois bag, usually worn around the neck, where the family jewels and money, if any, were placed.
[UK]G. Kersh Great Wash 55: The old man waved the money aside, saying: ‘Bless you, son, you always had a heart of gold; thanks all the same, but I have enough for my modest needs. My grouch-bag was never empty’.
M. Pickford Sunshine & Shadow 85: To make it seem more, I would change every five-dollar bill into one-dollar bills and stuff them into a chamois ‘boodle-bag’ I wore around my neck.
[US]A. James America’s Homosexual Underground 135: He annexed a succession of lovers and from each he extracted a boodle bag of jewels.
[US]M. Comus ‘Sticky Fingers’ 🌐 He dropped the sunglass case into his boodle bag and turned his attention to the other object: a narrow, crumpled scrap of black fabric.

3. loot, as contained in a bag.

[US]M. Levin Reporter 253: Two Bandits Captured [...] One Escapes With $10,000 Boodle-Bag.

4. a ‘goodie bag’ with free gifts, promotional material etc given away by a company, e.g. at a press launch.

[US]Florida Assoc. of legal Support Specialists 🌐 The members of MCLSA and TALSS greeted the attendees at the registration booth with a terrific registration packet (including the program for the annual meeting) and a fantastic imprinted boodle bag (donated by Todd Vause of Vause’s Process Service) filled with wonderful information and gifts.
boodle buyer (n.)

(UK Und.) a criminal receiver who specializes in large items.

[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 253: A boodle buyer. A ‘fence’ who buys bulky items.
boodle-carrier (n.)

(Aus.) one who passes counterfeit money.

[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 11: Boodle Carrier, the thief who carries bad money and gives it to the ‘shover’ as fast as the latter can dispose of it.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 20 Sept. 6/4: The man who utters it [...] may be either a boodle carrier, a snide-pitcher, or a shovel pitcher while the operation itself is to pitch or to shove queer.

In phrases

walk the boodle (v.)

(US Und.) to distribute counterfeit notes.

N.-Y. Statesman 21 June 2/4: The mayor asked witness if Ann took out with her when walking the bootle [sic] (slang word for a bundle of forged notes.) Here A. C. [Ann Carter, defendant] laughed and said to the mayor, ‘I see your honor is up to the slang’.
whole boodle (n.)

(orig. US) the lot, everything there is, the entire group.

[US]J. Neal Down-Easters I 61: I know a feller ’twould whip the whool boodle of ’em an’ give ’em six.
[US]D.P. Thompson Locke Amsden 76: [He] stumped all the rest to come on, one at a time, and there wasn’t a soul of the whole boodle that dared do it.
[US]S. Smith My Thirty Years Out of the Senate (1860) 183: He pulled off his coat [...] and declared he’d fight the whole boodle of ’em.
[US]G.E. Clark Seven Years of a Sailor’s Life 209: Their officer’s order of ‘gobble the whole boodle,’ showed that dead men were not wanted.
[US]E.E. Hale Christmas in Narragansett 272: At eleven o’clock the ‘whole boodle of them,’ as Uncle Nahum called the caravan, from grandmamma down to little Tom [...] had to boot and spur for church.
[US]Kansas Agitator (Garnett, KS) 28 July 5/1: Next year, John Sherman and the whole boodle outfit will be on the road.
[US]Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ) 18 Dec. 4/3: An innocent newspaper chap [...] won the whole boodle.
[US]Tombstone Epitaph (AZ) 30 June 2/4: We’ll make off with the whole boodle as fast as we can.
[US](con. 1945) G. Forbes Goodbye to Some (1963) 206: A whole boodle of them [gulls].